New Zealand allrounder Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of the first test against Pakistan after fracturing a wrist at Northern Districts training in Hamilton today.
Santner, a sure pick for the two-test series, starting in Christchurch on November 17, and a rising talent in the New Zealand side, was struck on the hand while batting in the nets ahead of ND's Plunket Shield game against Canterbury starting tomorrow.
The hairline crack is in his right, or non-bowling hand. He was one of five New Zealand players returning to domestic cricket after the tour of India.
The 23-year-old has had past hand troubles, including fracturing a little finger in Australia last summer and breaking a finger last May.
Santner is expected to be out of action for three to four weeks. He's played 10 tests, averaging 23.46 with the bat, and taking 25 wickets at 38 apiece. He has also played 19 ODIs and 10 T20 internationals.
He's won high praise from the New Zealand management for his performances and there is sure to be a debate over who should replace him.
Canterbury legspinner Todd Astle is in strong form, scored a big century against ND in the opening round of the Plunket Shield and has taken 11 wickets in two matches at 21 apiece.
ND legspinner Ish Sodhi was on the tour to India but struggled for success, while another option is stick with recalled offspinner Jeetan Patel, who played two of the tests in India after being called in as a replacement for the injured Mark Craig.
ND coach James Pamment said Santner suffered the injury while defending a ball batting in the nets but there was no clear indication of the severity of the injury. Santner had left training to get medical treatment.